Lighted Wall Switch

rodbettsFebruary 18, 2011

I have two rooms in my home that, if the lights are left on in error, you have no way to know they're on without re-entering the rooms or by examining the wall switch position. The switches are outside the rooms. They're a walk-in safe, and the furnace room. Because they're entered so seldom, if a light is left on by mistake, it could remain on for weeks, even months.

I know there are lighted switches but they're intended to help you find the switch in the dark. I'm looking for a switch that's lighted only when it's in the on position. The light would need to be bright enough to be seen in daylight conditions. Does such a switch exit, and if so, where could I find one? I've looked on the internet and found nothing.

I have neutral and ground wires in each of the switch boxes. If necessary, I could mount an additional switch box next to the light switch, and install a light in it, but I'd rather not do so as the walls are all paneled (stiles & rails) and the panels would have to be chopped up. If there's not a switch that will do, is there a light I could mount in this extra switch box? Of course, I need a solution that would comply with electrical codes. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Rod Betts

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globe199

You want a switch with a pilot light, something like this:

- http://tinyurl.com/4vav9u5

or in Decora, my personal favourite:

- http://tinyurl.com/4hja2em

or even better, industrial grade!

- http://tinyurl.com/4e4mmd9

and yes, they all require neutrals.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 4:01PM
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shadow700

I just installed the 3-way version of the last one you linked to. It looks great and the pilot light is plenty bright. The only negative is that there is a lot of light leakage around the pilot so that when it is on, much of the top part of the paddle glows.

I just converted the light in the garage to a 3-way and put the piloted switch inside so I can see if it was left on. The switches are basically back-to-back on the same wall.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 4:21PM
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globe199

So you got the Leviton 5638? Where did you order it? I'm kind of surprised to hear that light leaks around the narrow lens; usually those heavier-duty devices are better.

Does it have wire leads as in this picture?

http://tinyurl.com/4aqwjxt

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 4:48PM
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saltcedar

Switch & Pilot Light?

Here is a link that might be useful: Switch & Pilot Light

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 5:51PM
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shadow700

Yep. Leviton 5638-2W.

I ordered it through a local supply house. They were within a few dollars of the best price I could get online, but I always try to give the local guy the business if possible.

The leads are as pictured in that link.

Power comes into the "inside" box over 14/2.
Hot is sent to the "garage" box over a 14/3.
Power returns from the garage box over the travelers in the 14/3, which connect to the 5638.

Hot to the light is pigtailed to the hot terminal on the Leviton switch and the black pilot lead.

White from the light and the switch lead are connected to the neutral feed.

Ground per code.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 1:09PM
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DavidR

Power returns from the garage box over the travelers in the 14/3, which connect to the 5638.

I'm trying to imagine how that would work. Even after drawing the schematic, I don't see how you can feed the pilot light inside without a 4th wire in the cable to the outside 3-way switch. Maybe you could draw me a diagram.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 9:52PM
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shadow700

The garage switch is just a normal 3-way switch (no pilot).

I figured since you are standing in the room with the light, a pilot would be superflouous.

Since the feed to the garage light comes from the inside switch box and that box has the switch with the pilot, I am able to do all the pilot wiring without needing additional wiring.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:33AM
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DavidR

Since the feed to the garage light comes from the inside switch box and that box has the switch with the pilot, I am able to do all the pilot wiring without needing additional wiring.

I'm sorry, but that makes no sense to me. A 3-way switch is a single pole double throw switch. Depending on the position of the garage switch, either traveler may be hot when the light is on.

So, to reliably indicate the status of the garage light, you would have to bring back a conductor in parallel with the light (or the common terminal of the switch in the garage).

How did you manage that with xx-3 cable?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 5:31AM
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normel

It makes perfect sense... if the switched feed to the light is in the same box as the power, the pilot light is simply placed in parallel with the switched hot.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 9:26AM
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shadow700

normel's got it.

Here's a quick sketch. Treat "yellow" as "white" and assume the white in the 14/3 is marked appropriately. Grounds are omitted.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 3:31PM
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DavidR

Ah, I see. I assumed that you fed the garage light from the box in the garage. Guess I usually think of garages as detached by default. Now that I re-read your OP, I see "The switches are basically back-to-back on the same wall."

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:23AM
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